I can let out a dirty little secret.
Now that Valentine’s Day 2017 is over, I can say what I really think of the holiday: I hate it. Consumers were expected to spend an average of $136 this year, totaling more than $18.2 billion, on Valentine’s Day gifts for loved ones this year.
I love my wife and my family and I especially appreciate the chance to tell them how much I love them and how much they mean to me. In the same vein, I hate the focus on gift-giving and over-spending; the price gouging; and how it mocks true life-long love.
Valentine’s Day started out simple enough. Valentine’s Day first became associated with romantic love in the 14th century. The first mass-produced Valentines card on embossed paper lace wasn’t produced and sold in the U.S. until 1847.
I think Valentine’s Day started out with the right idea, a day to remember the loves in our life and a chance for us all to speak from the heart. The road to hell as they say is paved with good intentions.
I love you without question, without calculations, without reason good or bad, faithfully with all my heart and soul, and every faculty, believe it, for it is true. If you cannot believe, I being at your side, I will make a drastic effort to force you to do so.
—Juliette Drouet to Victor Hugo
But oh how the mass marketers and commercial conglomerates have taken over the day. Somewhere in the process the idea of the day got transformed from a simple day to remember into a commercial free-for-all overrun by florists, card companies, and jewelry stores.
Retailers have Christmas decorations barely put away, the tinsel still balled-up on the floor, and they start promoting Valentine’s Day. I get wanting to plan, but can we please finish one holiday first.
Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much.
—Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash, 1994
I loved my wife before Valentine’s Day. I took her out for a much needed dinner this weekend. If my day had gotten out of control and I forgot to give her a card on Valentine’s Day, would that have meant that I love her any less? I don’t think so and I don’t believe she thinks so either . . . but to be on the safe side I still wrote her a letter and surprised her with flowers and chocolate.
So yes, I hate Valentine’s Day and I can do without the glitz and heart-shaped boxes, but I can’t do without my wife and will certainly take the chance to tell her that she’s special to me. Happy Belated-Valentine’s
You know I love the ranch but these last two days made it plain I only love it when you are there. Come to think of it, that’s true of every place & every time. When you aren’t there I’m no place, just lost in time & space.
—President Ronald Reagan to First Lady Nancy Reagan, 1993